The Music Industry Finally Had a Good Year in 2016 Thanks to Streaming and Drake

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Drake will accept all thank-you gifts. Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Don’t sound the death knell for the music biz just yet: According to a report shared by the RIAA, the music industry pulled in more money in 2016 than it has since 2009, making last year one of its best years in quite some time. Retail revenue grew by 11.4 percent from just the year before, totaling $7.7 billion. The industry hasn’t seen an increase that large in almost 20 years. Of course, its biggest cash cow was streaming — last year alone, streaming made $3.9 billion and is now the majority revenue maker for the whole industry for the first time in its history. Paid subscriptions on Spotify and Apple Music, in particular, saw a major boost in 2016, up to $2.5 billion’s worth for paid streaming overall. And the music overlords can send their Champagne and roses as thanks to Drake, who was the most-streamed artist by a mile last year and has continued to break streaming records this year. But as much as the numbers show the new tricks to getting people to pay for music are starting to catch on, it’s nothing compared to the industry’s heyday. The RIAA is quick to note that the revenue the music biz made in 2016 is only half of what it raked in back in 1999. (Both CD and download sales were down last year.) If only Drake put out more of his life every week.

The Music Industry Finally Had a Good Year in 2016